Competitive Analysis – How Do You Stack Up?
If you’re in the business world, you’ve probably heard of a “competitive analysis” and you probably also understood the basic meaning of what that would be – but there’s more to it than you might think. A good competitive analysis goes deeper than a simple look at similar businesses to see what they’re doing wrong or right. A truly useful competitive analysis can provide you with a wealth of information that you can use to your benefit by showing you the path that will put you ahead of your competitors. Here we’ll be taking a look at a couple of the most important elements that make up a thorough competitive analysis and offer some guidance on how to use them to the advantage of your business.
Learn to Identify Your Competition
You may think you already know your competition, and maybe you do – but this process aims to go deeper than you might think to go yourself. Identifying your competitors with accuracy is a crucial part of the analysis and will shine a spotlight on what both the short term and long term goals of your business will need to look like.
One of the best methods of identifying your competition is so simple that it might make you laugh – do a Google search for what your business does. Who comes up in the search results? Make a list of the businesses that turn up most frequently, and dig a little deeper. Use Google search volumes to identify the most popular keywords related to what your business does and find out which of your competitors comes out on top. Compiling specific knowledge like this will paint a much clearer picture of the direction your business needs to take and can help you determine opportunities that will be most beneficial when they arise.
Get to Know SEO
SEO, or “search engine optimization” is all about structuring your business site in a way that makes it easy for your users, customers or clients to find the content that they need with ease. Structure, in this regard, basically refers to the way that each page within your site links to the other pages within your site. Equally as important, a site that is structured to have great SEO makes it easier for search engines to locate the content within your site that you want those customers and clients to find if they do a search for what your business provides.
When looking at the websites for your now identified competitors, there are a few different things that you should keep an eye out for:
- The page title
- The URL architechture
- H1 Tags
- Internal links
- Image alt text
Content Type and Quality
Once you’ve identified your competition, you can start your competitive analysis and dig deeper to gain a better understanding of what type of content they’re publishing and how does their website provide their users with information. Is their content professional and thorough? Is it aesthetically pleasing? If so, what is pleasing about it – the look, sound or tone of writing?
Different types of content can include:
- Blog posts
- Visual content
- Feature articles
- Press releases
- Case studies
- Buyer guides
You can learn so much simply by taking in the things you like and dislike about the site, and by taking note of the way that their users respond to it and interact within it. If your competitors blog three times a week compared to your one article every month, it will be beneficial for your company to start generating more traffic to your site by blogging more frequently about relevant topics.
Social Media Integration
Failing to keep up with the trends of social media integration is increasingly a death knell for some businesses. It’s important to know where the majority of your potential users or customers are online and how best to reach them through that medium. Looking at the ways that your top competitors use social media resources is the best way to get a feel for what works for them and what doesn’t.
It might feel like spying at first, but there is actually a wealth of useful and available information about the way your competitor’s customers are finding them online that you can access by looking for their ranking keywords. Which keywords are most popular and lead the most users directly to them? Are there any keywords that you share with a competitor and are they receiving more hits for those keywords then you are? What can you do to change that?
A good competitive analysis can be an amazing way to bring clarity to your own vision. Simply by taking a closer look at your competition, you might learn some things about your own business that you didn’t even know you were missing and avoid some potentially disastrous mistakes in the future.